Alliance of Businesses, Nonprofit Groups Seeks Update of Electronic Privacy Law
March 31, 2010, Los Angeles Times — A group of businesses and advocacy organizations, including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Tuesday that it is calling for an update to a decades-old privacy law it considers seriously outdated. The law governs how and when law enforcement agencies can access citizens' private electronic communications.
Dubbing itself Digital Due Process, the group said the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was written in a time before the Web had become a ubiquitous communications medium, where users around the world store huge amounts of personal information for years or even decades at a time.
Prosecutors and law enforcement frequently request e-mails and other online data when performing investigations, but private companies have argued that the guidelines for such requests have become too loose for their comfort.